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Woman steals prosecutor's identity

Sunday, June 27, 2004

HOUSTON -- If you're going to steal someone's identity to draw from their bank account, you might as well go for someone with a good job.

A woman with a history of fraud got the bank account number of Houston's chief prosecutor, and is now accused of writing hot checks.

Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal had to shut down his bank account, contact police and draw money out of his children's savings account temporarily.

"It's been a huge hassle," Rosenthal said. "I've spent way too much time trying to get things straight with all these banks."

A 30-year-old Beaumont woman, Sharon Durbin, allegedly wrote nearly two dozen phony checks on the DA's personal bank account, investigators say. She passed herself off as "Cathy Rosenthal" and had a fake driver's license to match.

Durbin was indicted this week on a felony charge of using a fake check. Rosenthal recused himself from the case and state District Judge Carol Davies appointed a special prosecutor, Wayne Hill.

It is unclear how Durbin got Rosenthal's bank account number, investigators said.

The 21 fake checks totaling more than $9,000 were used to purchase computers, groceries and gift certificates at a Petsmart store, authorities said.

Prisoner moons judge

MILFORD, Conn. -- A man who dropped his pants in court and mooned a judge was jailed for six months on a contempt charge.

Richard Brown, 38, shouted insults and obscenities after Superior Court Judge Patrick Carroll told him to address the court as "sir." He dropped the pants of his two-piece prison jumpsuit and pointed his rear end at the judge.

Brown continued to shout taunts and expletives Wednesday as he was restrained by state marshals and forcibly escorted through a side door to a holding cell.

Brown's outburst came during a plea hearing. He was expected to plead guilty to armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery in exchange for a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

After the outburst, the prosecutor withdrew the plea agreement.

Truckers beautify rigs for contest

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- More than 100 truckers are gussying up their rigs and preparing for a beauty contest like no other.

They shined, buffed and waxed their trucks Thursday at the Bosselman Travel Center to prepare for this year's Shell Rotella SuperRigs Truck Beauty Contest.

This is the first year Grand Island has hosted the annual event, which is touted as the "Oscars of truck shows."

Frankie Story, 54, spent hours beautifying his truck. He said its yellow color and shiny spinning rims attract attention.

"Boy, people will run over you just to get a look at them on the highway," he said.

The event includes musical performances and a free steak dinner for participants. Twelve winning trucks will be photographed in the area for the Rotella SuperRigs Calendar.

-- From wire reports


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